Wednesday, February 15, 2012

System for Continually Developing Talent

The purpose of the articles I write is to help volunteers connect with young people when they are in elementary and/or middle school and then stay connected to them as they go through school and into adult lives. I connected with Leo in 1973 when I first became a volunteer tutor/mentor at the Montgomery Ward Headquarters in Chicago. Leo is now an independent film producer in Tennessee. We're still connected.

I use maps to show that in order for volunteers to connect with kids like Leo, organized tutor/mentor programs need to be located near where the kids live, and in locations convenient for volunteers to participate. Such programs need to be in all poverty neighborhoods. Clearly, based on our maps and data base, they are not in all poverty neighborhoods of Chicago. The green stars on this map represent programs in my database. For programs to operate in every neighborhood we need to reverse the way they are supported. Right now non profit organizers need to be good at building programs that connect youth, volunteers and learning opportunities, and also be great at marketing and fund raising so they have consistent resources to operate and innovate better ways to keep kids and volunteers connected.

If industry leaders saw their involvement with tutor/mentor programs as a strategy for "continually developing talent" many would be more strategic and consistent in the way they support tutor/mentor programs and how they help good programs become available to young people in more places.

Last week I wrote about an article in Forbes, titled The Empowered Employee. Below are some of the key phrases I highlighted in the article.

"While the ranks of the unemployed continue to swell globally, the number of unfilled jobs for skilled labor are also on the rise.....There's a gap in preparation...."

Instead of viewing employees as costs, "shift attention from the cost to the value side". "View employees as assets capable of delivering ever increasing value"

"Address how enterprise will need to change in order to help people develop more rapidly and achieve ever higher levels of performance."

Find ways to "facilitate persistent engagement" the say way retailers are trying to stay connected to a consumer "before, during and after she visits a store"

"Re-craft the employee-experience so that they can learn faster on the job in their day-to-day work environments."

Build "systems of engagement (SOE's)"

"It takes time and effort to find the requisite people, connect with them, and access relevant data and analytical tools"

"Create records of exceptions they handle so other employees can learn from the experiences of the few directly engaged in resolving each exception" and "make patterns of exceptions more visible"

Create "real-time dashboards". Make way for the "distributed social-data command center"

"A recent look at HR in the media reveals a deep interest in the many things that promote performance." "Happier employees tend to perform better."

"Great experience maps to great performance."

"Where and how could we help our employees to learn faster by connecting them with relevant talent in customers,business partners and suppliers?"

"Shift attention from short-term job deficit to the long-term mismatch of talent and needs" "Focus on continually developing talent."

"The web is less than 20 years old...a teenager, not yet legal. The infrastructure supporting the post digital revolution is sill under construction."

If someone in your business or industry is thinking of these things, then maybe they will consider some of the ideas I offer for building future workers by engaging current employees in volunteer-based youth mentoring programs and by supporting the employees and their programs with "Systems of Engagement" that enable them to learn from their volunteer experiences and apply what they learn to their work experiences.
Recognize that employees who are deeply involved and satisfied in their community service and social problem solving are probably happier and more loyal employees if they recognize how much their employer is helping them engage in this effort.

While there are probably numerous efforts to support this engaged workforce, few combine the library of information and directory of local tutor/mentor programs that are part of the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC's platform for social problem solving. These tools support employee engagement in multiple locations and multiple ways, making it likely that more employees will get engaged and say engaged in changing roles as their careers develop.

It is this long-term engagement that builds knowledge, networks and a passion for a cause. This is what turns customers into advocates, and what motivates people to work harder, smarter and with greater efficiency to achieve hard-to-reach goals.

If we can teach these skills to future workers through the mentoring and involvement of current employees we have a system that will be "continually developing talent."

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